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Navigating sales teams during difficult economic and political times

Sales teams focus on 3 things generally, they are Winning/Retention/Growth, ideally in that order of focus. With a challenging economy and outlook it creates uncertainty and that in turn creates its own challenges to deal with. Controlling costs is fundamental so customers will be locked down in terms of decision making on both new purchases, and what to do with current suppliers.

You can find yourself having to focus your team(s) on all three at the same time and this can be challenging for everyone in the team(s) to focus on. One clear essence all the way through is to UNDERSTAND YOUR VALUE, so laser focus on it. Simply put, the benefit or improvements you provide have to clearly outweigh the price or competitive threat.

From a customer perspective right now, think about their world and what they need to be doing to win. Help them navigate through the fog of uncertainty, focus on what they can control and once they get here, it's then about helping them win. This will help you align your Win/Retain/Grow challenges and keep them on track. The financial rewards can be instant e.g. minimise loss as a priority, then refocus back on winning more customers. For some customers the challenges will be to run faster and continue growth, so segmenting customers into each group is key. A great plan could actually see you incentivise adoption of your products and services by deferring the financial reward for the commitment today

Benefit – Cost = Value.

Finally, I’d reframe pricing. Cost can be determined not just by the actual price but also the customers time and energy. Therefore, can your proposition create efficiencies? can it also help them be more effective? Can it save time? If you do this, it creates focus on other costs and your competition instead. By doing so the question moves, is it the actual price or the cost to the business by not having your proposition?

Navigating a sales team through challenging economic times isn’t easy, done well it builds a binding confidence and creates a laser focus everyone can get behind. Challenging times require challenging conversations both internally and externally.

Questions to ask of yourself and the team.

  • Does the team really understand your value against current challenges?

  • Are the benefits/Improvements focused on your customers current challenges and desired outcomes?

  • Is price the only option? Can your value proposition create efficiencies, time and greater effectiveness?

  • Are the teams’ actions aligned to the current Winning, Retention & Growth challenges.

Jason Bushby

Director @ | Helping people build great teams

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